TSDF supports TSD.
The Texas School for the Deaf Foundation funds and supports the many activities for Texas School for the Deaf (TSD) that are not covered by funding from the state of Texas. TSD’s mission is to ensure that students excel in an environment where they learn, grow, and belong. TSD supports deaf students, families, and professionals in Texas by providing resources through outreach services.
The foundation supports three major initiatives for TSD:
The school and Foundation together have designated 3 specific areas for targeted support by the Foundation to help focus its fundraising efforts. These areas are:
Development of a 0-3 Program
Although deaf and hard of hearing students have increased educational opportunities both in public school and center schools like TSD, nationally they continue to have significant achievement gaps because of failure to access language and communication at an early age. TSD has experienced a steady increase in the age of students’ enrollment to 14-16 years and must try to “catch these children up” academically, socially and emotionally with their peers. Families with infants whose hearing loss is identified through a newborn hearing screening program are able to make the most of their babies’ first months of life by providing an optimal foundation for language, cognition, and social-emotional development.Researchers have found that when a hearing loss is identified early and families receive excellent intervention services by one year of age, these children attain language skills comparable to their hearing peers by the time they are five years old. TSD has long recognized the necessity for early intervention and seeks to formalize a program of information and access for Texas families to help counteract the negative effects of language and communications delays. More than 90% of deaf or hard of hearing children are born to hearing parents and it is these families who need objective information and support. Deaf children of deaf adults find their way to TSD very quickly and use our services beginning immediately.
TSD is mandated by the legislature to be the statewide resource for deaf and hard of hearing children and their families but there are no allocated funds to accomplish the mandate. The school provides approximately 2% of its budget to outreach activities. TSD’s outreach programs are often a lifeline to underprivileged children around the state who have little or no access to the services they need to reach their potential. The TSD Foundation is the logical resource to help raise statewide awareness and funds for outreach programs.
Deaf students are visual learners and benefit from the media-rich technologies that allow visual access to information and resources. Visual access to wireless classrooms establishes an immediate benefit that works to minimize the severe language and reading problems that result from developing English as a second language. If all information deaf or hard of hearing children must learn is up on an interactive whiteboard they can see the teacher signing all the information that a hearing child would absorb listening to a teacher while still looking down at his or her book. In order to ensure that our students have access to technology it has to commit to continuous improvement of its infrastructure which is often quite expensive. The school has asked the Foundation to find ways to help support the technology needs of the school. A general operating grant would allow the Foundation to put its needs on the back burner and focus on ways to bring technology funds into the school.
For over 150 years, the Texas School for the Deaf, has offered deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) students an exceptional education designed that meets their individual needs, and a unique opportunity to shape an identity based on their personal strengths and talents rather than disabilities. Located on a 67-acre campus on South Congress Avenue in Austin, TX, TSD attracts students from across the state and nation. Families move to Texas from as far away as Michigan, Delaware, Oregon and Mexico due to the school’s academic reputation. The school currently enrolls approximately 500 students and offers a wide range of programs including Early Childhood (infant – three years); a Special Needs Department for students with multiple disabilities; Elementary, Middle and High School Programs; a Career and Technology Education Program (Middle and High School students) with skills training ranging from culinary arts, computer repair, graphics and publishing, commercial photography, health science and auto technology and repair; plus two Transition Programs for students up to 21 years. TSD offers a full scope of direct educational and support services including comprehensive diagnostic, medical, social, sports and recreational services.
Second, TSD serves as the state designated resource for deaf and hard-of-hearing children, their families, and the professionals who serve them. TSD accomplishes its outreach through the Educational Resource Center of Deafness (ERCOD), also housed on the South Congress campus. ERCOD provides workshops, training, materials, distance learning, and support to all communities in Texas. Year after year, ERCOD reaches out to over 172,000 teachers, counselors, parents, sign language interpreters, medical personnel and (of course) children throughout the State of Texas each year through workshops, trainings, tours, observations, internships, retreats, online tools, summer programs, information and referral.
TSD Student Statistics:
- One hundred percent of TSD’s students qualify for special education services, with 52% of our children challenged by other disabilities in addition to deafness.
- Students with additional disabilities include those who have cognitive disabilities, vision impairments, medical and health issues, autistic spectrum disorders, and emotional and behavioral disorders.
- Over 76% of our children are on free or reduced lunch.
- Almost 40% of our students come to TSD between the ages of 15-20 and TSD is challenged to “catch the children up” academically, socially and emotionally with their hearing peers as well as with deaf peers who have been exposed to a communication-rich environment at a much earlier age.
- TSD effectively serves more than 5,000 documented cases of DHH children, their families, teachers, tutors and caregivers in Austin and around the state.
- Approximately 20% of the state’s deaf population lives in the Austin area, largely due to the school, services available for deaf and hard of hearing, and a supportive community of families, interpreters and friends of deaf individuals.